Author Topic: solar roadways  (Read 35968 times)

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Offline CanadianAvenger

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #75 on: June 14, 2014, 12:42:35 am »
Indeed. But the name of the game is not to generate solar power per se. It is to have better roads. In that context, it doesn't matter that a better place for generation might be up in the air, or that cars will shadow it, or any of the other stuff. Think of is as cheaper asphalt.

It will NEVER be cheaper than asphalt. Asphalt is the one of most heavily recycled materials in the world, and is orders of magnitude cheaper to put down than these will ever be. Think about the process to install vs the solar roadways panels. Asphalt requires a hard packed base [concrete is often used on heavily traveled highways] and then the asphalt is literally dumped and roll packed on top of the base. Solar roadways will require a concrete base with a pattern of bolts to be installed at roughly 1 foot intervals. Then the panels, and wiring, will need to be manually laid down and bolted in place. While this may be able to be somewhat automated, it will never be as fast as putting down asphalt, meaning the installation costs will be higher.

From a maintenance standpoint, replacing a single tile is probably cheaper, and better than filling a pot-hole, however, the concrete foundation is still subject to all the same problems as roads today, and will be subject to the same repair costs [if not higher].

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Sure, it is currently more expensive asphalt (possibly - not done the sums, but roads ain't cheap). But the idea is that you will get some payback through solar power, which will just knock a few cents off the total bill (which, hopefully, would be cheaper than current roads). That's all. They're not looking for the very best efficiency ever obtained from solar panels.

you will never get payback on the panels. They will never generate enough power over their lifetime to offset their own cost. By lying flat, they are only generating a fraction of the energy they could. And by being a roadway they will be subject to excessive wear, greatly shortening their lifespan.

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Additionally, their road (of which the PV stuff is just a part, not the whole of it) incorporates ducts for power and comms and run-off, etc. All stuff that current roads have to be dug up for if you want better broadband or whatever. Build a new house in the middle of nowhere and the cost of hooking it up to services should be cheaper because they won't have to dig out the countryside to get the cables and pipes to it.

But the cost of that duct is very high, and could be done today, without the added expense and inefficiency of the solar roadway beside it. [Note that these "ducts" already do exist in most cities in the form of tunnels under the road that are accessed through the man holes]
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #76 on: June 14, 2014, 02:02:17 am »
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What about getting more payback faster with solar panels in most optimum way on the side of the road.

Then it is not about roads; it is about solar panels, and by the way we could put them alongside roads.

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It will NEVER be cheaper than asphalt.

Roads aren't just the cost of asphalt, otherwise we would pave the world for two bob. Similarly, houses aren't just the cost of bricks.

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Think about the process to install vs the solar roadways panels.

I have no idea. What I do know is that when I make something on the bench it is orders of magnitude more expensive than I can buy it shipped from China, and they probably make it look a whole lot better too. If this were to make it to 'production' I have no doubt the processes involved would be quite different to what we're thinking about now. Maybe they might even pre-fabricate sections and just drop 'em en bloc into a freshly dug hole, a bit like making a Scalectrix track, maybe :)

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the concrete foundation is still subject to all the same problems

Yes, that also occurred to me. Except... if they can heat the roads then they won't have the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw damage that creates potholes in our current roads, so that's potentially taking a lot of problems away. Would it be cheaper to heat or repair? (metaphorical quesiton: I know your answer already).

However, I don't see how they can use heating to keep the roads unfrozen all the time. They would be churning through a lot of energy to do that.

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They will never generate enough power over their lifetime to offset their own cost

Wrong sum. They would need to generate enough to cover the difference between a current road (plus its maintenance over some timescale) and the new road (plus maintenance of the same timescale). If the PV road costs the same to install and maintain (for the sake of argument) then even 1W of PV power for 5 mins once a year is profit.

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But the cost of that duct is very high, and could be done today

Why isn't it? One reason may be that a length of duct in isolation is pretty useless, so there's no point in putting any down because it won't lead to anything, so there's no reason to... classic chicken and egg thing. OTOH, PV roads are new and it's likely that ducting will be just part of what it is, so it's the egg being putting in place. Once that's there a chicken will be along soon... It could almost be worth doing on that basis alone: use the PV road idea as the carrier for the real want, which is the ductiing.

But I am just bandying ideas around, and pointing out the same logical flaws in counter- arguments that we complain about in their originals. The massive PCB costs, for instance, are not something to get hung up on. In a production unit, why wouldn't the LEDs be embedded in the glass and then wired up on the normal way? No PCB costs to talk of. It is a stupid argument to hang your hat on for the purpose of showing how stupid they are. There are a lot of things wrong with this project, but the overwhelmingly thoughtless diatribes against it actually makes it look reasonable!
 

Offline CanadianAvenger

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #77 on: June 14, 2014, 02:58:27 am »
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the concrete foundation is still subject to all the same problems

Yes, that also occurred to me. Except... if they can heat the roads then they won't have the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw damage that creates potholes in our current roads, so that's potentially taking a lot of problems away. Would it be cheaper to heat or repair? (metaphorical quesiton: I know your answer already).

However, I don't see how they can use heating to keep the roads unfrozen all the time. They would be churning through a lot of energy to do that.

You'd also have to heat the spillways/ducts as well [until the water could be dumped into a conventional sewer or pond], or the water would quickly re-freeze creating ice jams, eventually leading to an ice-rink instead of a roadway. This is because they are not underground where they would be insulated from the cold air, and heated by the earth around them. Also the heaters would never be able to keep up with a snow-storm. And as you said the energy costs/consumption would be huge for a single winter season... likely far more than the amount of energy the panels would produce over the entire year.

As for the LED's they are pointless, as they would never be bright enough during the day to be seen [the sun is a formidable enemy here, as is the glare on the now glass road surface], making them useless for road markings or any other warning system during the day. They would be useful from dusk till dawn though, but you'd still have to paint lines for daytime.

One more thing about the glass... they claim to have gotten a  government grant and passed the traction and durability requirements... this was for a parking lot where speeds and wear requirements are low... not for a highway where the speeds are much higher [and therefore traction requirement], as are the requirements for durability.

These roads will also be much louder due to the large traction bumps, potentially creating environmental noise problems. It's hard to say how bad it would be, as nobody has tried running a vehicle at highway speeds on it yet.

I guess my bottom line is we have plenty of other, better suited, places to put solar, that would be more cost effective and efficient than the proposed solar roadway. We could still achieve the same energy production with far less area, and resources used [natural and financial]. If you want to build a better roadway then you're better off trying to engineer a new material that is more resistant to the sun, water, and ice than asphalt, while maintaining the same [or better] traction and durability as asphalt [good luck as they are quite competing demands - solve one, and you'll likely magnify another]. Solar Roadways are not the answer here, as they don't actually solve any problems with the current road technology, and are mediocre at best in providing any of the other suggested benefits. Solar Roadways are a solution, in search of a problem.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 03:18:09 am by CanadianAvenger »
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #78 on: June 14, 2014, 03:41:05 am »
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You'd also have to heat the spillways/ducts

Not a bit problem if you're already heating the road proper: the ducts have a small surface exposure in comparison, and water coming down there is already not frozen :)

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still have to paint lines for daytime

Yes, and just on general safety grounds, I think. But you also mention glare, and one of the big problems with painted lines is seeing them on a wet road, particularly if the sun is in the wrong place. Maybe LEDs would solve that problem.

And mentioning dusk-to-dawn LEDs, there was a drive around here to replace road reflectors with LED illuminated ones. Some were pretty passive in that they just lit up with the normal reflector colour, but where roads were known to have a problem with black ice they also indicated if the temperature is low enough to be a worry. I think they lit up in response to car headlights to save power, but they extended the driver's view of the road by quite a bit.

Not heard anything about them (or seen any, come to that) for a couple of years so I don't know if there hit some terminal snag. Pretty sure they were powered by a small solar panel on the top.

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this was for a parking lot where speeds and wear requirements are low

They say that's what the contract was for, don't they? Hard to argue that it's not what's wanted when it's exactly what was asked for. Not that that's stopped anyone, of course :)

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nobody has tried running a vehicle at highway speeds on it yet.

How about concrete? Personally, I can't see the bumps staying, so if they were just rough surfaces they would be pretty much like existing concrete roads. A section of the motorway near here is concrete and in my old car it was OK if a bit noisy. But in my newer car, with much stiffer suspension, it is terrible! Get the wrong speed and resonance theatens to shake everything to bits. Hell, even at the right speed it threatens to shake every thing to bits, just not quite so quickly.

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Solar Roadways are not the answer here

They are not what I would have first thought of. Or, probably, thought of at all. And yet... someone in the transport department thought it worth splashing some serious money to find out. Of course, when they get the results of the experiment they may well decide it's not a direction worth investigating any more. Can't fault them for taking a look, though.


 

Offline SeanB

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #79 on: June 14, 2014, 04:03:44 am »
The LED markers are used here, and do quite a good job at marking the roads. Powered by sunlight on a small solar panel. Not sure how, they would need a panel of over 50% efficiency or at least a lens to concentrate the light on it during the day to get a charge into whatever battery, likely lithium pouches, that you fit into a 75mm diameter package that withstands a 22 ton load from truck tyres running over them. The light is very directional, and lasts at least until midnight, as I tested it once to see how far they stay lit, and it was as far as I could see.  They pulse the light output at around 150Hz, or at least it does not give a noticeable beat with 50Hz mains, and I can still see the flicker. Most of them are unidirectional, only visible from the approach direction, though some  have a 2 colour arrangement with white one way and orange the other way. There are 2 colours in use, a cool white and an orange one, for centre markings and lane edges respectively.

I want to get some to tear down.......
 

Offline tvtech

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #80 on: June 14, 2014, 05:01:31 am »
Hi Sean

Certainly some good to come....interesting idea.

Maybe a start....even the pavements could help here in South Africa...unless people decide to steal that too.. ::)

You never know.

tvtech
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #81 on: June 14, 2014, 05:15:48 am »
Pretty hard to steal something that is fixed into the road surface with Sikaflex. Nothing to get a grip on, and flat with no protrusions and a thick glass front. Plus you would stand out with a pickaxe at night on a main road digging a hole, even the dumbest would think twice at being either run over like cattle or taken out by a gun happy motorist.
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #82 on: June 14, 2014, 06:13:13 am »
The panels would have to be removable in order to be replaced when they inevitably break, though. And people who steal cables really are as dumb as a box of rocks; we had a major telephone outage here in the UK earlier in the year when some moron stole a load of fibre optic cables thinking they were metal...
 

Offline echen1024

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #83 on: June 15, 2014, 11:32:41 am »
The panels would have to be removable in order to be replaced when they inevitably break, though. And people who steal cables really are as dumb as a box of rocks; we had a major telephone outage here in the UK earlier in the year when some moron stole a load of fibre optic cables thinking they were metal...
The most desperate steal high voltage transimission line by throwing a heavy chain across, creating a short, and hoping to remove the cable in time before the chain melts. Needless to say, most die.
I'm not saying we should kill all stupid people. I'm just saying that we should remove all product safety labels and let natural selection do its work.

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Offline Phaedrus

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Thunderf00t Trashes Solar Roadways
« Reply #84 on: June 16, 2014, 05:15:02 am »
Very thorough beat-down of this idiotic scam, Thunderf00t has a knack for pointing out the absurdity of over-hyped nonsense like this.



"More quotes have been misattributed to Albert Einstein than to any other famous person."
- Albert Einstein
 

Offline Sionyn

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #85 on: June 16, 2014, 06:06:39 am »
i've lost all faith that these guys had some idea about engineering

There's a lot of false information about Solar Roadways flying around the internet these days and some of it is just SO freakin' wrong that we've created this page to set the record straight dun dun dun |O

http://solarroadways.com/clearingthefreakinair.shtml
eecs guy
 

Offline echen1024

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #86 on: June 16, 2014, 06:34:58 am »
i've lost all faith that these guys had some idea about engineering

There's a lot of false information about Solar Roadways flying around the internet these days and some of it is just SO freakin' wrong that we've created this page to set the record straight dun dun dun |O

http://solarroadways.com/clearingthefreakinair.shtml
Oh boy. I love how they choose not to debunk the ones that are valid issues. Note how they point out "Public Forums"
I'm not saying we should kill all stupid people. I'm just saying that we should remove all product safety labels and let natural selection do its work.

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Online dunkemhigh

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #87 on: June 16, 2014, 08:14:47 am »
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i've lost all faith that these guys had ...

Just wondering, like: if you don't bother reading anyone elses posts, why should you expect us to read anything you post? This is a forum, you know - there are loads of blogging sites you could use if you want to do write-only grandstanding.
 

Offline TommyGunn

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #88 on: June 16, 2014, 11:23:51 am »
i've lost all faith that these guys had some idea about engineering

There's a lot of false information about Solar Roadways flying around the internet these days and some of it is just SO freakin' wrong that we've created this page to set the record straight dun dun dun |O

http://solarroadways.com/clearingthefreakinair.shtml

He goes over everything said on that page

 

Offline echen1024

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #89 on: June 16, 2014, 12:31:41 pm »
So they want to use it on airport tarmacs... How the hell are they going to meet the stringent traction requirements. An Airbus A380 requires 9000ft+ of runway to take off at MTOW, and the airport Bush IAH (Houston) uses runway 15L for A380s. That runway is 12k feet long. In wet conditions, even landing a plane on the glass surface will be fell, due to the probably awful traction it would provide. And let's not talk about cost. The runway is 1.8e6ft^2. Based on their own claim of $70/sqft, one damn runway is 126,000,000USD. Asphalt, in comparison, costs 14,400,000USD. 8.75 times cheaper. That's not even factoring the additional costs from having to make runways longer due to longer takeoff runs in the rain, as well as greater regulatory issues. The built in LEDs will also NEVER meet the FAA and ICAO requirements for reliability and brightness.
I'm not saying we should kill all stupid people. I'm just saying that we should remove all product safety labels and let natural selection do its work.

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Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #90 on: June 16, 2014, 05:50:04 pm »
So they want to use it on airport tarmacs... How the hell are they going to meet the stringent traction requirements.

To be fair, I don't remember them ever claiming to use it on airports. (that might have been me shooting at moon) But on the traction issue. They are still claiming it broke the traction testing apparatus.  :-+
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #91 on: June 16, 2014, 06:07:46 pm »
To be fair, I don't remember them ever claiming to use it on airports.

IIRC yes they did in one of the videos, mentioned a tarmac and showed an airport.
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #92 on: June 16, 2014, 06:20:41 pm »
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An Airbus A380 requires 9000ft+ of runway to take off at MTOW
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additional costs from having to make runways longer due to longer takeoff runs in the rain

These Airbus thingies... got motors driving the wheels, have they?  :-DD

« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 08:52:05 pm by dunkemhigh »
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #93 on: June 16, 2014, 06:53:53 pm »
People seem to keep throwing money at them, so for example now they have to make the thank you video and name 7,796 people in the video and keep it posted in their website.

Then 622 individual videos thanking them individually. Hopefully those are done while they are raising the money, since they are supposed to send them within 24 hours.
They will have a lot of work, but it is possible within 24 hours. Currently there are 9,390 people which they need to mention by name in a video. If they need one second per name, it would need about 3 hours. For the $100 claim, currently there are 764 people for which they need to create a 30 second video. That's about 6 hours.

Of course, I think it doesn't make much sense and would be very boring for them to record the videos, but the whole project doesn't make sense, so this is a good match.

And it won't work for roads, that's for sure. But I think it could be a market niche maybe for a garden veranda. The power of the solar cells could drive a water pump, so you have a good feeling that you do something good for the environment ;D And at night you could do some nice light show or games with the pressure sensors for kids. Unfortunately the $10,000 price for a working prototype is ridiculous.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
 

Offline rob77

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #94 on: June 16, 2014, 07:18:07 pm »
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An Airbus A380 requires 9000ft+ of runway to take off at MTOW
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additional costs from having to make runways longer due to longer takeoff runs in the rain

These Airbus thingies... got motors driving the wheels, have they?  :-DD

Runway length is a valid consideration, but not for the reason you are pushing. It helps, in making them look silly, if you don't make yourself look sillier.

he is right about the runway lenght - how the hell would you brake that giant beast to halt on glass while it's  raining  in case of aborted takeoff ? using glass would need significantly longer runways for both takeoff and landings.

and it's not about the cost of the runway - how would you make them longer ?
"sorry guys, we need to demolish the half of the city to make the runways longer in order to cover them with shitty  glass surface"    :-DD :-DD :-DD
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #95 on: June 16, 2014, 07:32:34 pm »
Using ridiculous amount of natural resources to do something totally useless. (light the road mostly) I think that nails it!  :-+ Think about all the trees that need to be chopped off to make way for light for these solar roadways. I think thunderf00t needs to make video about the environmental impact of these things. As if everything wasn't already against them. They are claiming to save the planet. In the process they will destroy the planet. Ok it's not their intention to scam people/destroy the planet, but they will inevitably do it if they succeed in what they are doing. Couldn't find the toyota prius battery video on top gear. Why doesn't putting solar panels on something make it magically green. Except when you ask marketing people.

Where will the solar cells to be used be made in? I think in china... powered by coal power plants mostly. How much longer do the solar panels need to be used to offset the CO2 POISON ;), because they are not being utilized efficiently? The solar power will mostly be used to power leds. Why didn't Solar roadways people already do calculations on this? Having recycled glass 10% in volume in their concrete mix doesn't have much to do with this, even if they like to claim it saves the planet. So we not actually using (wasting) only money to do this, we are wasting natural resources of the earth. Again if I'm wrong about this doing more harm than it does good, correct me!

They can always take their card of "mass producing" and claim it is actually of some use in the future. But they are not claiming to make solar panels any greener they are planning to go into mass production.
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #96 on: June 16, 2014, 08:51:43 pm »
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how the hell would you brake that

Not something you nromally consider when talking about take off, hence my jibe.

But on reviewing this I will concede I was a bit nasty about it, so edited my previous post to reflect that.
 

Offline echen1024

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #97 on: June 16, 2014, 11:50:04 pm »
We must also think of the environmental impact caused by constructing solar panels.

http://voiceofsandiego.org/2009/02/16/the-not-so-sunny-side-of-solar-panels/
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/sep/03/solar-panels-ewaste

How are we going to dispose of the thousands that will inevitably fail annually? What about choosing responsible manufacturers?

Regarding the runways... So they want to use these as almost sort of runway lights. Let us examine the FAA spec for runway lighting.
http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentNumber/150_5345-46D
First of all, you're going to have issues with controlling them to be uni/bi directional... and then viewing in direct sunlight is also another major issue, since there are no damn trees or canopies on top of runways.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 11:57:17 pm by echen1024 »
I'm not saying we should kill all stupid people. I'm just saying that we should remove all product safety labels and let natural selection do its work.

http://www.youtube.com/user/echen1024
 

Online max_torque

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #98 on: June 17, 2014, 12:26:01 am »
I really have no idea how this thing is still going tbh.  It falls down on so many levels i just don't get it?

1) Cost comparable to a tarmac road:  Last time i checked, a tonne of tarmac in the uk (in bulk, like you need to make a road) cost around £15, and would allow you to surface something like 5m squared of road surface.  And yet, the cost of a single mile of  3lane motorway in the UK is around £30M.  What that tells you is the raw material cost is NOT really the critical factor in deciding the costs.  No, it is more to do with the cost of buying the land, paying for all the people and machines to build the road, and then installing all the infrastructure necessary to make it function (signage etc).  So how, can a "solar" roadway be cheaper, when it has more expensive raw materials?  Their site says something like "a 12x12m section of roadway will cost under $10k and hence be comparable to a conventional one"?  Well, come on, lets see your numbers, and lets see a proper cost break down too.

2) Maintenance:  How can it be less expensive to maintain a road made up of complicated and potentially fragile solar panels, compared to one made up of inert (and cheap) Tarmac?  I just can't see it.  Then you get to the costs involved with the labour to maintain those panels.  Literally anyone can stick some tarmac in a hole and pack it down a bit.  Hence you can pay them a small amount of money to do so.  But to replace and repair critical items like solar pannels, with things like high voltage safety etc and potentially complex devices such as inverters or grid tie systems?  Nope, that's gone be a whole heap more expensive.

3) Amount of power generated:  If you sat down an came up with the worst potential layout and architecture for a solar array, i would suggest, that other then putting them "indoors", a solar roadway would be it.  No mention of the effects of the angle of incidence of the sun / effect of dirty or damaged panels etc.


4) Heated roads:  WHY?  Unless you heat ALL roads, people will still need to drive with care and fit the appropriate tyres etc.  Otherwise you'll turn off the nice clean heated road onto a smaller road at speed and just crash there instead.

5) Active road illumination: WHY? The road of the future is a road on which automated cars can drive.  Like the Google car etc.  They don't need stupid LED lights to show them the way to go!

6) Co-efficient of friction and wear for a "solar" roadway as compared to a conventional asphalt surface when being driven over by conventional vehicle tyres.  No mention of this, just "yeah, glass is really hard like" or some such thing.  Road surfaces are a mandated item, and there friction, noise, environmental performance and wear is all specified by the highways department.  Tests exist to characterise these factors, and yet i see no data for these solar roadways?

So, what we have here is the perfect combination of the WORST OF BOTH WORLDS.  I.e., we have a terrible solar generation system combined with a poor road system!

The current limit with solar generation is NOT the space in which to put it (hint, go on Google Earth and see how much of the world is covered by roads, compared to how much by either a)nothing or b)houses/buildings etc all of which have nice elevated (and angled!) roofs on which to mount conventional panels)

« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 12:29:18 am by max_torque »
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: solar roadways
« Reply #99 on: June 17, 2014, 01:50:53 am »
3) Amount of power generated:  If you sat down an came up with the worst potential layout and architecture for a solar array, i would suggest, that other then putting them "indoors", a solar roadway would be it.  No mention of the effects of the angle of incidence of the sun / effect of dirty or damaged panels etc.

I was thinking of permanently installing a solar panel under a car. Just to demonstrate how much a solar parking lot would generate in worst case scenario. And how it would affect the return of investment. Maybe if I installed it pointing down we could make all the roads reflective to make it actually generate some power. Making all roads reflective would actually cost much, but then we could have cars with solar panels under them to power them? This could work as replacement for induction coils. Since induction charging for electric cars is not there yet, so we could use light instead. Also at night we could turn on the leds embedded in the roads to make it go. Other way would be to make a car out of glass... roof out of glass (we already have these) and floorboard out of glass and have the sun shine directly through the whole car and power the solar panel under it.
 


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